#1 Getting distracted in the car
We kick off this count down with one of the most common bad habits drivers are guilty of; trying to multi-task behind the wheel. Popular tasks include texting or calling someone, tuning the radio, eating and drinking (62% of people admit to this according to Direct Line) and applying cosmetics (50% of women apply cosmetics whilst driving, leading to 450,000 crashes a year!).
Not a surprising dangerous habit at number two. Have you ever driven through a 30mph zone at night, on an empty motorway or a long country lane and seen the speedometer creep over the limit? Fatal accidents are four times as likely on rural roads as drivers think its safer to speed on quieter routes. Last year, speeding contributed to 3,064 fatalities or serious injuries on the road.
#3 Tailgating and undertaking
We all know how frustrating it can be when the car in front is moving at, what seems like, a glacial pace and you have somewhere to be. Becoming frustrated by the car ahead of you may cause you to act dangerously by tailgating or undertaking the car. Since 2013, police have introduced tougher measures to deter motorists from driving dangerously by handing out £100 on-the-spot fines and three points on your licence.
Careless driving offenses also extend to lane hogging on dual carriageways and motorways. Cruising in the middle and outside lanes is classed as a driving offense as it can lead to a build up of traffic on Britain’s busiest motorways. Fines and points on your license are a sure fire way to make sure outside lanes are only used for overtaking.
#5 Accelerating through traffic lights
Are you an amber gambler? Speeding up to get through a traffic light before it turns red may seem like a convenient alternative to stopping, and in some cases, continuing is the safer option. But by and large many drivers are too lazy to stop so carry on through the amber. This is classed as a dangerous driving offense for which you can be penalised as it increases the chance of an accident with a pedestrian or vehicle.
#6 Riding the clutch
Not a driving offense, but a careless thing to do nonetheless. Riding the clutch occurs when the driver doesn’t fully release the clutch pedal, resulting the clutch disc to slip against the flywheel, causing premature wear on the disc, release bearing and flywheel. It’s a habit that drivers may be unaware of when they’re driving, but when it comes to the maintenance bill, it will certainly grab their attention.
#7 Checking your blind spot
An issue which the motor industry continually raises awareness for, as motorists who fail to check their blind spot before changing lanes can cause fatal accidents to other motorists or motorcyclists. Blind spots on a vehicle are an area around the car that can’t be directly seen by the use of mirrors or plain sight. Checking your blind spot may seem like a menial task every time you overtake a car, but it is important to the safety of other road users.
#8 Leaving high beams on
Not only bad driving etiquette but also can cause an accident by blinding on coming traffic. It is obviously important to see the road if its dark, but if you don’t feel safe using normal headlights, you either need to slow down to give you more time to see the road or consider replacing the blubs with a stronger wattage.
#9 Faulty signalling
Have you been driving in front of a car that’s had its indicator ticking for the past three miles? Annoying as it is, not signalling correctly can also cause accidents. Whether you drift into the overtaking lane without indication, don’t bother to signal when turning left or leave your indictor on when exiting a roundabout, any oncoming or following traffic can misread your actions. Be vigilant and attentive when turning and using your indicators.
Passengers ever remark on your boy racer or your old lady seat position? As a rule of thumb, you should be able to sit back in your seat, and with both arms extended, your hands should go past the steering wheel so your wrists are touching it. This gives you enough room to steer without over stretching. Similarly, you should be able to put your feet directly on the floor behind the pedals without raising your hip or thigh off the seat to reach. So if you need to perform an emergency stop, you won’t over strain to exert enough pressure on the pedal.